New Photos Up!!

New photos from my most recent South Africa and Botswana trips are now up in the Southern Africa gallery.

Mating Lions: Londolozi, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South AfricaMating Lions: Londolozi, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa



Botswana: Safari by mountain bike at Mashatu

The middle portion of the Backroads South Africa Botswana trip takes us to a remote corner of Botswana, where we have the chance novel opportunity to mountain bike in the savannah, surrounded by game. Close encounters with wildlife are suddenly hair-raising from the seat of a bike. Is it safe? Well, we don't generally encounter lions or leopards by bike (the trackers steer us away from predators). But they are present, in large numbers, at Mashatu.

Leopard: Mashatu Game Reserve, BotswanaLeopard: Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana



South Africa: The Cape

Yikes! I'm about to let 2014 pass without a single blog post? Okay, my attempt at an excuse: I have taken a job in trip development for Backroads, and I'm celebrating one year based back in California. After exploring a pretty good chunck of Europe and Latin America in the last three years, I have to say there is no place quite like the San Francisco bay area. This year has been a blast and a major shift; I'm managing North America trips, which means I won't be pinballing around the world leading biking trips any more, except for maybe once or twice a year.

No complaints, though, as I recently had the luck to lead our South Africa Botswana trip, a phenomenal hiking and mountain biking safari that is like no other trip offered anywhere.

African Penguins: Boulder's Beach, Table Mountain National ParkAfrican Penguins: Boulder's Beach, Table Mountain National Park


The first third of the trip takes place in the Western Cape, starting in Capetown with an exploration of Table Mountain National Park by foot and by bike.



Peru: Exploring the Andes

Humantay PeakHumantay Peak


For three months this spring I had the pleasure of working in the Andes of Peru. While I did have a bit of time to explore on my own, most of my time there I was leading Backroads' Hiking and Trekking trips, both of which start in Cusco and finish at Machu Picchu.



Peruvian Amazon: Manu National Park

After many years of wanting to explore the deep jungle of Peru's famed Manu National Park, a 10-day break between trips finally gave me the chance. The 10 days was needed, as just getting into the heart of Manu's rain forest from Cusco takes three full days by bus and boat- each way!

Giant Otter: Manu National Park, PeruGiant Otter: Manu National Park, Peru


One of my main goals was to see Giant otters, which are the largest otter in the world and are endangered all over their range in tropical South America.



Argentina: Salta

Burrowing Owl: Salta, ArgentinaBurrowing Owl: Salta, Argentina


After Ecuador I got to return to Argentina to lead a biking trip this spring in Salta.



Ecuador and Galapagos

I wasn't even in Ecuador for a month this year, but while I was there I managed to see three Spectacled bears (lucky) and to get blacklisted form the Galapagos Islands (unlucky).

Spectacled Bears: Hacienda Zuleta, EcuadorSpectacled Bears: Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador



New Photos Up!!

Collared Aracari: Sarapiqui, Costa RicaCollared Aracari: Sarapiqui, Costa Rica


Lots of new photos from my winter in Panama and Costa Rica (like this Collared aracari from the fantastic Costa Rica Nature Pavilion) are up in the Central America and Caribbean album. 



Costa Rica

I got to lead one trip in Costa Rica this year, which gave me the chance to catch up with friends and pay a visit to grandfather's place.

Leaf Cutter Ant: Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa RicaLeaf Cutter Ant: Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica



Panama: Boquete

As part of my winter in Panama, I had the priveledge of spending a good amount of time in Panama's highlands, especially in Panama's coffee epicenter, Boquete. Boquete's coffee industry accounts for 90% of the coffee produced in Panama. In spring, the ripe coffee beans are picked largely by the indiginous Ngobe-Bugle, who migrate over the continental divide every year from the Caribbean slope to work the coffee harvest.

Ngobe-Bugle Kids: Boquete, PanamaNgobe-Bugle Kids: Boquete, Panama


Women wear brightly colored traditional dress and groups of women walking along the road brighten up the lush and already colorful Boquete countryside. The kids above were quite fascinated by me when they found me hiking in Volcan Baru National Park on Christmas day.